First Presbyterian Christian Academy defeated Youth ChalleNGe Academy-Fort Stewart, 73-62, on Saturday afternoon at St. James Sports Center.
However, FPCA head coach Ernie Walthour Jr. didn’t collect his first career victory as the Highlanders’ coach. Instead, assistant David Linderman got the win.
Walthour has been a basketball luminary in the Coastal Empire for many years. He has been coaching the Youth ChalleNGe team from Fort Stewart for the past 15 years and continues to coach them in addition to his duties at FPCA.
“We used Saturday to help as a fundraising game for Youth ChalleNGe. I think that David did a great job with the Highlander varsity today,” Walthour said.
The Highlanders took an early lead in the first quarter, but YCA played a quick pace and stayed with FPCA throughout the first half.
FPCA held a 40-37 lead at halftime despite missing nine free throws in the first two quarters.
As the third period began, the Highlanders showed a renewed focus. FPCA took a 50-45 lead off a steal and layup from D.J. Brancher, then Highlander guard Michael Burnett added a pair of 3-pointers in successive trips down the floor to give FPCA a 59-49 lead late in the third quarter.
YCA threatened the Highlanders’ lead in the fourth quarter and got to within seven points, but FPCA stayed the course to win the game.
Anthony Campbell led the Highlanders with 21 points. Damian Osborne finished with 14 points. Burnett and Herbert Roberts finished with 11 points each.
“We played a lot better today,” Linderman said. “We had much better ball movement, and Anthony Campbell gave us some great hustle minutes. It’s always fun to go up against your mentor. I really appreciate everything that Ernie has done me for me over the years.”
Walthour said he was proud of his YCA team, but he also was evaluating his FPCA players during the game.
“Coming in after the Faith game, we are really starting to play more as a team. Today we looked like we were much more patient. We did a better job controlling the ball, and Damian Osborne did a good job on the boards. We are definitely starting to come together more,” Walthour said.
FPCA improves to 1-1 and will play Memorial Day School on Dec. 2.
FPCA 20 20 20 13 —73
YCA 19 18 16 9 — 62
FPCA: Campbell 21, Osborne 14, Burnett 11, Roberts 11, Ahman Muhammad 6, Domonique Kirkley 5, Brancher 3, Armon Wade 2.
YCA: Chris Simpson 24, Marquice Adkins 10, Gerald Williams 6, Orlando Nichols 6, Jessie Fisher 4, Darius Fuller 4, Trequille Stanidfer 2, Marion Lester 2, Christian Hawkins 2.